Arctic Monkeys – Malahide Castle- 20th June 2032
The Arctic Monkeys arrived onto the scene in the early noughties, setting the pace and punch that would define their ascent over the next decades with their frenzied lead single ‘I Bet That You Look Good on the Dancefloor’.
The band met as teenagers in Sheffield when neighbours Alex Turner (guitar and vocals) and Matt Helders (drums) met Andy Nicholson (bass) at school. They were later introduced to guitarist Jamie Cook, who came up with their band name.
With a touch of serendipity, the band’s formation came just as the internet was revealing its mighty potential for artists and industries alike, and the tried-and-tested method of handing out CD demos around town soon merged into the digital world as word began to spread on the blogosphere, fan forums and social media. Their popularity began to snowball rapidly up and down the country, earning them festival slots and radio airtime all while being unsigned. In 2005 they accepted an offer from Domino records; that their first two singles ‘…Dancefloor’ and ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ went straight to No.1 reflects the national attention and anticipation that had been bubbling.
Released in January 2006, Arctic Monkeys’ debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m No became the fastest-selling debut album in UK chart history. Recorded at Chapel Studios, the LP captured the scratchy grittiness of turn-of-the-millennium guitar rock, punctuated by Helders’ rushed but hard-hitting drumming style. But Turner’s rough-and-ready image of small-town, likely lad life, brought to life with strong Sheffield accent, gave Arctic Monkeys a strong and assured identity. And yet, few could anticipate how Turner and his band would mould and morph this image and sound as they continued to mature. Whatever People Say I Am would go on to with a Mercury, BRIT and Grammy prize to name a few.
Their debut would be their last with Nicholson, with Nick O’Malley taking over bass duties. A secret show at the Sheffield Leadmill in early 2007 debuted anticipated new material from their second album Favourite Worst Nightmare, released in April that year. On this record the band switched to a darker, post-punk sound, as heard on the likes of lead single ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Teddy Picker’ and ‘Old Yellow Bricks’. FWN also featured ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, a slight more happy-go-lucky number that would become one of the defining indie rock songs of the 2000s.
For their third album Humbug, the band joined forces with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme at Rancho De La Luna studios in Joshua Tree, California. Homme brought out the darker, sullen side out of Turner’s tone and lyricism that had always been there, while musically encouraging a dessert blues aesthetic. Released in 2009 and featuring the likes of ‘Crying Lightning’, ‘My Propeller’ and ‘Cornerstone’,Humbug was perhaps less immediately catchy than its predecessors yet undeniably broadened their horizons and signalled their artistic openness.
The warm vintage tones of Humbug turned up a notch on its 2011 follow-up, Suck It And See. Songs such as ‘All My Own Stunts’, ‘Black Treacle’ and ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ gave fans a few more singalongs, while the heavy blues of ‘Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair’ seemed to predict the next change of direction for the band that would come two years later.
2013’s AM was the sound of Arctic Monkeys reaching their most stadium-filling potential, with each track sounding bigger and sexier than the last with chunky riffs and half-time grooves. Songs such as ‘Do I Wanna Know?’, ‘Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?’ and ‘R U Mine?’ remain some of the band’s most popular, while the album is considered by many as their best.
Following a mammoth world tour, a year later the band announced a hiatus to focus on personal projects, such as Turner’s The Last Shadow Puppets. Yet in 2016 the Arctic Monkeys returned with yet another surprise: a sixth studio-album drenched in retro-cosmic reverb and a timeless chamber-pop sheen. The Sci-Fi concept Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino was perhaps the biggest sonic shift of their career, and yet brought Turner’s refined songwriting closer to the fore, and it became their sixth consecutive No.1 on the albums chart. Its sleek and stylish production and retro-futuristic aesthetic made it especially popular with record-player users; it became the UK’s fastest-selling vinyl in a quarter of a century.
In August 2022 the Arctic Monkeys released ‘There’d Better Be A Mirrorball’, a delightfully elegant slow-burner and the first snippet from their forthcoming seventh album The Car.
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